Photo of 'father and daughter' playing outside Notre Dame Cathedral turns into viral search

A tourist who snapped the picture said it was taken an hour before the cathedral was engulfed in flames.
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By Minyvonne Burke

A heartwarming photo of a man and a little girl playing outside Notre Dame Cathedral shortly before it was engulfed in flames has gone viral after the tourist who snapped the picture shared it on social media in hopes of finding the pair.

In the image, captured by Brooke Windsor, a man is seen spinning the child in the air outside the Paris landmark. The man and child, who Windsor believes are a father and his daughter, are smiling at each other.

"I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it," Windsor tweeted Monday. "Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this."

Brooke Windsor took a photo of a father and daughter dancing outside the Notre Dame before a fire broke out at the cathedral on April 15, 2019.Brooke Windsor

In an update Tuesday, Windsor said she has not been able to find the pair but was "hopeful."

About an hour after the touching moment was captured on camera, many onlookers were left in tears as they watched a massive fire rip through the historic church causing the building's roof to collapse and destroying a spire.

The blaze began at 6:50 p.m. after the cathedral had closed to the public. No one was killed, but two police officers and a firefighter were injured.

Around 400 firefighters worked to contain the inferno, which was extinguished early Tuesday after a nine-hour battle. The city's fire service said in a tweet that the cathedral's structure was saved and that "main works of art are safe."

A spokesman for Paris' City Hall told NBC News that some of the church's famed rose windows and main organ were in good condition, and the cathedral's "most precious treasures" had been spared from the flames and moved to an undisclosed location.

"With pride, I tell you tonight that we will rebuild this cathedral, all together," French President Emmanuel Macron said. "It's part of the fate, the destiny of France, and our common project over the coming years. And I am committed to it."

Smoke and flames rise from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France on April 15, 2019.Veronique de Viguerie / Getty Images

Investigators are still trying to determine what sparked the "accidental" fire, Paris prosecutors said. Authorities said they have begun questioning witnesses and more than a dozen construction workers who were at the church, where $6.8 million in renovations were being completed.